Small to medium sized enterprises walk a fine line. On the one hand they need to embrace an old fashioned set of values. They need to have a “good, old fashioned” humanitarian, customer focussed approach and attention to detail that your customers and clients may feel is lacking in today’s fast paced and hectic business climate. On the other hand they are expected to have a proactive and technologically savvy approach to ensure that their business doesn’t lapse into obsolescence.

There’s no denying that it can be a tricky line to walk and new entrepreneurs may struggle to balance technological prowess with the back-to-basics approach to customer service that your target market may expect (which is where a good CRM platform would likely come in handy), but it’s an important balance in today’s competitive marketplace.

It’s no longer enough for businesses to focus here and now, they must always have a foothold on the emerging technologies that will influence the future of their market. Whatever industry your business populates, it’s worth keeping an eye on these technologies which could see you evolve with the times, or be consigned to the annals of history…

Lasers

While they’ve fascinated the minds of science fiction writers for decades, the versatility of lasers can be a real boon to most businesses. If your business is involved in manufacture you may well use lasers for more precise cutting but the humble laser cutter machine is in a state of constant evolution. Direct diode lasers are the technology to watch as they are far more energy efficient than their C02 laser counterparts, making huge savings for businesses without compromising on to-the-micron precision.

3D printing

3D printing is well and truly here, with the technology so affordable and readily available that enthusiasts are even crafting their own machines. From automotion to the medical industry, the practical applications for 3D are all-but limitless and all sorts of businesses are looking to this technology to save money and make their processes more efficient.

Chatbots

More and more businesses are turning to artificial intelligence solutions like chatbots to facilitate basic customer service interactions. This is designed to ease pressure on frontline employees and thus ensure that their ability to deliver outstanding customer service isn’t compromised. Chatbots are a technology worth keeping an eye on as they are becoming increasingly sophisticated and businesses are finding increasingly innovative ways of incorporating them into their business operations.

Augmented reality

Augmented reality may put you in mind of mobile games like Pokemon Go but we can expect it to have far reaching implications for all sorts of businesses. The automotive industry has embraced augmented reality by incorporating it into dash displays as well as using virtual reality to create virtual showrooms for customers, giving them the information they need to make a purchase at a fraction of the overhead costs. Augmented reality can also be used for training and education, remote collaboration and allowing technicians to make repairs with AR guidance walking them through the process step by step.